By Shabir Ibn Yusuf
Srinagar, J &K, India, (Greater Kashmir): Nine school children were killed and eight others injured, six among them seriously, when a school bus met with an accident in Kokernag area of Islamabad (Anantnag) in south Kashmir Thursday afternoon. The accident and the resultant deaths of school children sent shock waves across Kashmir even as all the mainstream and separatist leaders expressed grief over the loss of young lives.
Among the dead children are five girls, all residents of Kandiwara village.
Police identified the deceased as Nowshera Nazir (14), Uzaira Jan (14), Sameera Jan (13), Dilshada Akhter (14), Rafia Jan (12), Muhammad Shariq Bhat (12 ), Arshi Jan (14), Yasir Khatana (14) and Numan Shah (13).
Those who were injured have been identified as Aaqib Ashraf son of Muhammad Ashraf Bhat, Ishtiyaq Ahmad Khan son of Mushtaq Ahmad, Nifta Jan daughter of Muhammad Shafi Bhat, Junaid Ahmad Bhat son of Manzoor Ahmad, Umer Malik son of Abdul Rehman Malik, Shakir Nazir son of Nazir Ahmad Mir, Yasir Ahmad Bhat son of Ghulam Hassan Bhat, Shaiqa, Veifta Jan daughter of Muhammad Shafi and Yaseen Ahmad son of Ghulam Hassan.
Aaqib Ashraf, Ishtiyaq Ahmad, Nifta Jan were shifter to SKIMS Srinagar, Junaid Ahmad Bhat was shifted to SHMS, Shaiqa, Veifta Jan and Yaseen Ahmad were shifted to Sub District Hospital Anantnag while as Umer Malik and Shakir Nazir were shifted to Bone and Joints Hospital Srinagar. The accident took place at 4.25 PM. “We got a call at around 4.30,” officials at Police Station Kokernag told Greater Kashmir. “We have registered a case,” added the officials.
Divulging the details, Deputy Commissioner Anantnag (Islamabad), Dr Farooq Ahmad Lone told Greater Kashmir that the bus, bearing number JKO3A 2669, was carrying 14 children of Moral High School Dyalgam to drop them at their respective homes in Kandiwara area of Kokernag.
“Apparently the driver of the bus has lost control and it fell in a deep gorge of 300 feet near Kandiwara,” the DC said adding that rescue operation was launched jointly by police and civil administration.
“Seven children were found dead and nine others injured,” Dr Lone said and added that seven seriously injured were referred to different hospitals of Srinagar. “Two are admitted in District Hospital Anantnag.”
Reports said soon after the word about the accident spread, hundreds of people reached the spot and took part in rescue operations. The people were enquiring from each other about the welfare of the children.
The injured were first shifted to District Hospital Anantnag (Islamabad) in ambulances and private vehicles.
Pall of gloom descended on entire Kokernag area as the news of the accident spread in the area and its adjoining villages. The parents and other residents mourned and tried to get the first hand information about their wards. The women wailed, beating their chest.
“Chaos and confusion prevailed in entire Kokernag and its adjoining areas soon after the news spread. The people came out of their homes and thronged the roads. They were inquiring from each other about the accident,” Sajad Ahmad of Kokernag told Greater Kashmir.
Businesses in entire Kokernag area got closed within minutes. DC Anantnag said that they have given Rs 25000 each to the families of those killed, while Rs 10,000 have been given to families of injured. “We will help them in the treatment,” he said. Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir zone, Abdul Ghani Mir visited district hospital Anantnag in the evening and met the injured students.
Director School Education Kashmir, Muhammad Shafi Rather has also expressed sympathies with the bereaved family. “I have asked CEO Anantnag to submit a detailed report,” he said. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has expressed grief over the tragic road accident.
In his condolence message to the bereaved families, the Chief Minister conveyed his sympathies and prayed for peace to the departed souls. He also prayed for early recovery of the injured.
The Chief Minister also sanctioned relief of Rs one lakh each to the families of those killed and Rs 10,000 to each injured. Governor N. N. Vohra has also expressed grief over the loss of precious lives. In his message, the Governor conveyed his sympathy to the bereaved families and prayed for speedy recovery of all those injured in this accident.
“In view of the frequent recurrence of fatal road accidents, the Governor has yet again called upon the transport, Traffic and Police Departments to take the most urgent measures to reduce the incidence of such accidents,” a spokesman said. Peoples Democratic party (PDP) and State unit of CPI(M) expressed profound grief and anguish over the road accident and asked the government to provide free of cost medical treatment to the injured students and ex-gratia relief to the families of the deceased students.
Minister of State for Home, Sajad Ahmad Kichloo and Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather have expressed profound grief and sorrow over the tragic road accident.
In his condolence message, Kichloo has conveyed heartfelt sympathies with the bereaved families. He has also prayed for eternal peace to the departed souls.
Minister for Tourism Ghulam Ahmad Mir and Minister of State for Health Shabir Ahmad Khan expressed grief over the loss of precious lives. In their condolence messages, the Ministers conveyed sympathy to the bereaved families and prayed for speedy recovery of all those injured in this accident.
Meanwhile, minister for Health directed concerned health authorities for providing all possible treatment facilities to the injured persons for their early recovery.
National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah, General Secretary Sheik Nazir and Member Parliament Dr Mehboob Beg have also expressed sympathies with bereaved families.
PEERZADA MUHAMMAD SAYEED
Minister for Hajj and Auqaf Peerzada Muhammad Sayeed in his condolence message said: “My heart goes out for the families who have lost their kids. Entire Kashmir shares their grief. May Allah give patience to the bereaved families to bear this irreparable loss.”
GHULAM HASSAN MIR
Agriculture Minister Ghulam Hasan Mir has expressed shock and grief over the accident and has expressed solidarity with bereaved families. He asked the administration to take measures to prevent such unfortunate accidents from taking place in the future.
Dukhtran-e-Milat has also expressed sorrow over the accident. Chairmen of both factions of Hurriyat Conference, Sayed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, have expressed grief over the loss of lives. Talking to KNS, Geelani said that his heart goes out for those kids who lose their lives in the accident. He expressed solidarity with the families of the victims. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also expressed grief over the accident.